Exhibit Hall | Forum 6
Purpose: To investigate the changes of radiation medical physicist practices in the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Northern California Chapter during the COVID-19 pandemic
Methods: The survey includes 10 designed questions, including changes in patient load and travel rules; permission and scope to work from home (WFH)); new procedures and protocols implemented to reduce COVID-19 infection risk; availability of telemedicine and changes in fractionation schedules and type of treatment plans. The survey was made available on the online survey platform SurveyMonkey and responses were solicited from radiation therapy centers in AAPM Northern California Chapter. The responses were anonymized and analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
Results: At the end of a 4-week collection period, a total of 25 different radiation centers in Northern California responded. The average treated patients per day among all the centers was 1650. Respondents indicated that there have been newly implemented COVID-related department and hospital health policies such as testing, staff vaccination and limited visitor policy. Qualitative data indicate several new work models adopted to reduce onsite staff number utilizing staggered schedules, video conferences and hybrid remote and physical working models. Results also showed changes in treatment methods in response to the pandemic, such as increased use of telemedicine, increases in hypo fractionation of palliative, breast cancer, prostate cancer cases; increased use of more hypofractionation and simultaneous compared to sequential boosts. Quantitative data show there are 95.5% medical physicist were allowed to work from home.
Conclusion: COVID-19 pandemic induced changes in various aspects of radiation oncology practices. The AAPM Northern California Chapter survey serves as a pilot study to identify possible correlations and change strategies. Conducting a national survey will aid in verifying current data, along with furthering investigation into the impacts of COVID-19 on radiation oncology practices
Not Applicable / None Entered.